The Myriad Botanical Gardens was forced to celebrate the Irish Spirit in an unexpected way Monday. The focal point of Oklahoma City's "front lawn" was dyed green in an apparent St. Patrick's Day prank, according to city officials.
The color change in the waterways had park employees calling the Oklahoma City Police Department Monday. Detectives are working to "flush out" the mystery of the emerald current. The city believes pranksters dumped dye into a fountain, which connects to other fountains, streams and ponds throughout the downtown park.
"Our security guards noticed at about 5 a.m. that everything went green," Myriad Executive Director Maureen Heffernan said.
For park employees, the luck of the Irish was not in their favor. They now have a big cleanup project to tackle. The suspected prank entailed much more than a couple drops of food coloring. The bright green color looked similar to that of the Chicago River on St. Patrick's Day.
"That's a bummer that they're going to have to clean this up," park-goer Jennifer Perry said.
Perry and her young daughter made the glowing green water part of their celebration Monday. Myriad Gardens said it is happy people enjoy the color change, but the prank is causing officials a huge headache over concerns for the wildlife.
"I sure hope there's no ramifications to our wildlife," said Heffernan. "We have fish and ducks and turtles."
Crews will need to drain all of the water in the park's system. Workers will also need give the entire area a hardcore cleaning, according to Heffernan. Officials estimate the cleanup cost will be $5,000 to $10,000, on the low end.
"I think you can think a lot harder about more original and fun ways to have a St. Patrick's Day prank that does not cost a nonprofit thousands of dollars," Heffernan said.
Lab results are still pending to determine the chemical used to turn Myriad Botanical Gardens green for St. Patrick's Day.
Besides stained stones, the water appeared murky Tuesday as the chemical broke down. Staff are worried about the darkness of the water. It isn't allowing much light into the water, which could cause low oxygen levels, killing the fish.
Police said they will be looking through surveillance video. If you have any information that may help investigators, call the Oklahoma City Police Department.